I was lucky enough to be introduced to this gorgeous flourless chocolate cake many years ago by my neighbour, Amber. She whipped up ten of these for her brother’s wedding! We were the grateful recipients of some leftovers. At the time I had some rhubarb compote and creme fraiche in the refrigerator. The sourness of the rhubarb and creme fraiche cut beautifully through the richness of the cake.
Believe me this cake is so very, very rich. Even the most dedicated chocoholic would need just a small sliver to satisfy any chocolate cravings. It features both chocolate and cocoa enriched with whiskey, egg yolks and butter, all folded through a hazelnut meringue. Once baked it has a crisp crust encasing a soft almost crumbly chocolate and hazelnut filling.
I like to finely chop the roasted and skinned hazelnuts by hand. It doesn’t take long, is oddly satisfying and gives the finished cake a wonderful texture. Use a food processor to chop the hazelnuts if you must but be careful not too over-process. I would imagine using pre packaged hazelnut meal won’t quite work in this recipe, it is way too fine and would compromise the texture of the cake.
The original recipe comes from the November 2008 edition of Gourmet Traveller, and calls for 150 ml of whiskey. Amber warned me that she had used only about a third of that in her cakes. It’s obviously an error. The first time I baked the cake I used 75 ml of whisky and it was way too overpowering. Now I use 50 ml and as Goldilocks would say, it’s just right. I have also occasionally substituted Kahlua for the whiskey with stunning results.
This is definitely the dessert cake to make when you’re out to impress your guests. It’s perfect for chocolate lovers, gluten-free and deceptively simple to make. If you can melt chocolate and whip up a meringue, this recipe is for you. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Whiskey, Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake
Gourmet Traveller, November 2008
This flourless cake has a beautiful crumbly texture and a lovely crust. Be patient and let it cool properly before serving because it does need time to settle.
100 g unsalted butter, coarsely chopped.
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa, plus extra for dusting.
280 g dark chocolate (70% cacao), coarsely chopped.
50 ml Scotch Whiskey*
6 eggs, separated.
3/4 cup (175 g) sugar
100 g hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and finely chopped.
*original recipe called for 150 ml but this was quite obviously an error.
PREHEAT oven to 190 C.
BUTTER a 22 cm diameter cake spring form cake tin and dust with cocoa
MELT chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, stir through whiskey, cocoa and egg yolks.
WHISK egg whites and sugar until soft peaks form and fold with hazelnuts into chocolate mixture.
POUR into pan and bake until cake rises and top cracks (20 – 30 minutes).
COOL in pan, gently pressing on top so it falls back evenly. Stand for 15 minutes on a rack. Remove from tin, dust with cocoa and serve.
I like to serve this cake with rhubarb compote and creme fraiche to cut through the richness of the chocolate.
1 bunch rhubarb, stalks only
1/2 cup sugar
strips of lemon zest from 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
dash of pure vanilla essence
TRIM rhubarb, wash well and cut into 4 cm chunks
PLACE rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a heavy bottomed saucepan and simmer on low heat until soft, about 10 minutes
REMOVE from heat and stir in a dash of pure vanilla essence.
COOL compote completely. Mixture will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate in a glass jar until needed.